Baseball

BOX SCORES

Game 1: A’s 2 – White Sox 5

Game 2: A’s 0 – White Sox 9

Game 3: A’s 2 – White Sox 3

Game 4: A’s 5 – White Sox 4

 

For a four game series against a team that has historically kicked the shit out of the White Sox, this was a very nice change of pace. While the starting pitching didn’t exactly blind us with their brilliance, they did enough to turn it over to a bullpen that suddenly seems to be about as dominant as advertised at the beginning of the season. Combine that with Cleveland pooping all over themselves against the Twins, and you get the Sox with an 11.5 game lead after going 4-3 against the Yankees and A’s. With the Rays and Blue Jays on the horizon before they get a break against the Cubs, another 4-3 stint would be more than welcome, and probably enough to put the last 12 nails in Cleveland’s coffin.

Also: Yasmani Grandal is almost back!

 

NUMBERS DON’T LIE

GAME 1

-Dallas Keuchel started off the game looking like he wanted to be anywhere but on the mound on the South Side, as he gave up a leadoff dinger to Matt Olsen (eh, it happens), plunked Josh Harrison (not great), walked Stephen Piscotty (definitely not great), and then walked someone called “Vimael Machin” to load the bases before giving up a single to Mark Canha and a run scoring fielder’s choice to Starling Marte to spot the A’s to a 2 run lead. After this, however, he shut that shit down and went 5 solid innings before giving the ball to Michael Kopech. Gutsy performance for DK (I can use this now since Duncan Keith told the Hawks to get fucked), and really nothing to complain about out of your 5th starter after it looked like it was going to be an early exit.

-Speaking of Michael Kopech…wow. He looked unhittable in his 2 innings, striking out 3 and walking 1 (only because of the shit strike zone of Ron Kulpa) and generally making the A’s hitters look like they were being attacked by bees. I don’t know if the Sox are going to give him anymore spot starts, but I sure would like to see them.

-If Luis Robert can stay healthy, we could have a perennial MVP on our hands. He’s that good.

-Eloy just keeps plugging along, doing his thing. Knocking in runs and keeping his OPS over 1.0, making pitchers look scared of him. He also didn’t spontaneously combust in the outfield, so aces all around.

-Kimbrel and Hendriks righted the ship in a big way, striking out everyone they faced in their 2 total innings. Sickness.

GAME 2

-First and foremost I can’t say how glad I am that Chris Bassitt escaped any permanent damage after Brain Goodwin absolutely smoked a line drive off his cheekbone in the 2nd inning. Bassitt went down in a heap, with blood pouring out from between his fingers into the dust of the mound. It was horrible to see live, and even worse to hear. I don’t blame the A’s for pretty much packing it in after this.

-Credit to Jake Lamb for cleaning what Andrew Vaughn left for him on the table with a 3-run shot to center field. I don’t know how much longer the Sox are going to have room for him, but he’s certainly been a nice surprise.

-Jose Abreu just keeps doing the thing. Another 3 RBI night for Pito, and though his batting average is lower than one might like he’s still raking when it matters.

-If this is the Reynaldo Lopez we’re getting from here on out, I may be ready to get hurt again. He had some great stuff, and was more efficient than I’ve seen him in a long time. He was still under 70 pitches when he got lifted after the 5th, but I get TLR wanting to protect him from going through the order a 3rd time. Good shit.

-Ryan Burr picked right up where ReyLo left off and looked solid the pair of innings he worked. I like his stuff, and if given a chance think he could be “A Thing”

GAME 3

-Gonna be honest here, I missed most of the game because of Stupid Work™ but I did see the clip of Lance Lynn throwing all his accessories to the umpire after the 4th inning and getting tossed. Boss Level shit right there.

-More quality work out of the bullpen again with Ryan Tepera, Garrett Crochet and Aaron Bummer taking care of business before turning things over to a resurgent Liam Hendriks with 1 out in the 8th inning and a 1 run lead. Hendriks never looked under duress in the 1.2 innings he threw, and his slider had more break on it than in weeks past. I declare him healed.

-Ho Hum, another 3 hit game for Luis Robert. How droll. He did manage to make things interesting in the top of the 7th when the grass disintegrated beneath his feet and he fell to his ass and still almost made the catch.

GAME 4

-Dylan Cease came out a house of fire and mowed some chumps down in the first few innings, then…stopped. He gave up a solo shot to Sean Murphy in the 3rd, which…whatever, then completely lost the zone in the 4th inning where he walked in a run. It’s like he completely forgot everything he was doing in the first 3 innings and went back to getting ahead in the count and then filling the count trying to nibble the edges of the zone. His final line wasn’t bad (quality start), he’s just infuriating to watch sometimes.

-Andrew Vaughn smoked himself another dinger today off an 80 MPH curveball, bringing his career total up to 15 with a real shot at 25 for the year. Plus he’s played almost everywhere on the diamond, and I’m thinking the Sox have their own version of Max Muncy now.

-Michael Kopech made one mistake today, but that was all it took to end the Sox’ hopes of a 4 game sweep. He hung an 0-1 slider in the middle of the plate, and Matt Olsen (who else?) didn’t miss it. Live and learn.

-The Sox tried to make it interesting off Lou Trevino in the bottom of the 9th, but Eloy left Jose on 2nd base when he smoked a line drive right at Starling Marte. Can’t get too mad about it based on how well the first 3 games went. Moving on.

 

Next up the Sox have a 3 game set this weekend against the Tampa Bay Rays, who they took 2 of 3 from earlier in June. Looks like the Sox miss the meaty part of the Rays rotation, instead getting the corpse of Michael Wacha and Luis Patiño. Giolito, DK and ReyLo will get the nods against the Rays, who have the ability to single you to death, or bludgeon you with dingers. Let’s hope Gio can keep his stuff up in the zone, and DK down. Take another 2 from them, call it a series and send em packing back to America’s Taint.

 

Let’s Go Sox.

 

 

Baseball

BOX SCORES

White Sox 3 – Royals 4

White Sox 5 – Royals 3

White Sox 2 – Royals 3 (10 innings)

White Sox 0 – Royals 5

 

Whatever.

In what should’ve been a series where the Sox celebrated the triumphant return of The Big Baby, they instead looked like a pack of single A hitters facing Jake deGrom. The offense has scored 15 runs in its last 7 games, and the pitching outside of Giolito and Lynn has looked exceedingly pedestrian. While Rick Hahn has thus far done “fine” on the trading for reinforcements front, watching the Dodgers act like a team that legit wants to win every game they play by trading for Scherzer and Trea Turner leaves a sour taste in my mouth.

Plus Eloy is hurt again.

Bullets? If we have to…

 

 

NUMBERS DON’T LIE

 

Game 1

-For a pitcher billed as a sinkerball specialist with a penchant for a lot of groundouts, Dallas Keuchel sure has been giving up a lot of home runs lately. The 3 in this game brings his total for the year up to 17 dingers in 19 starts as opposed to the 2 he gave up in the entire abbreviated season last year. A lot of it is the competition he was playing against in 2020 vs 2021, but the teams he’s giving up long balls to this year are the likes of Baltimore, Minnesota and KC. Something’s up with his delivery, but other than the fact that he’s leaving a lot of shit up in the zone I can’t put my finger on it. If he doesn’t right the ship, he figures to be the odd man out come playoff time.

-On the other side of the coin, the offense that started out the first half of the year as one of the most patient in the league (4th in the entire league with a 10.4% BB rate) has suddenly decided to swing at every offering from some of the shittiest pitchers in the land (down to 14th in the league with an 8.6% BB rate since July 1). A ginormous chunk of this is the loss of Yasmani Grandal and his .388 OPB, but players who were working counts earlier like Jose Abreu and Yoan Moncada have suddenly become swing happy. This may just be an outlier in a long season, but it bears watching.

-Andrew “Doubles” Vaughn did his best to drag this team back into the game with a 2 run single in the 6th inning, smoking an 0-2 change outside the zone right down the 1st base line.  This extended his hit streak to 6 games (which he would stretch to 7 the next night). Love to see it.

-Eloy was back, and despite the loss it was awesome to see him out there again. Luis Robert and Grandal aren’t far behind, as Robert began his AAA rehab stint and Grandal is a few days away from his.

-Another 2 hit night for Adam Engel, who with Vaughn’s emergence as a legit OF option and the impending return of Luis Robert has basically taken the RF need off Rick Hahn’s “to do” list.

Game 2

-THE BIG BABY HAS RETURNED. What a fucking blast:

-Everyone should thank Mike Matheny for intentionally walking Jose Abreu to get to the 2020 Silver Slugger award winner. That’s some Galaxy-Brained shit right there.

-In addition to vaporizing that ball, Eloy had a single and actually threw someone out at home from LF. Granted it was a hilariously bad send by the Royals 3rd base coach, but an assist is an assist. He also made a very nice catch on a sinking liner off the bat of Carlos Santana.

-Not to be lost in the Eloy Excitement, but Gavin Sheets also smoked a dinger of his own in the top of the 4th off a shitty changeup from shitty pitcher Brad Keller. That’s Sheets’ 6th dinger since he’s been called up, and it’ll be tough for the team to send him down once Luis comes back.

-Dylan Cease was pretty scattershot in his start tonight, but was somewhat let down by the D behind him. Andrew Vaughn, making his first ever start in RF, dropped a fly ball that would’ve ended the inning for Cease. Credit to him for battling, however, and making it a quality start by going 6 and giving up 2 ER.

-Michael Kopech looked absolutely unhittable in his inning of relief, striking out the side in the 8th to set the table for Liam Hendrik’s 25th save. That could be a scary back end of the bullpen if he can get that consistency up (he will). The only question is will he end up in the rotation or not.

GAME 3

-Fuck this shit.

GAME 4

-Fuck this shit too.

 

With a few hours left until the deadline, there’s still time for Rick Hahn to add more pieces, but I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say that none of them are going to be of the jaw-dropping variety. Thus we are left with a team that will (hopefully) coast through the rest of the AL central and into the waiting arms of the Astros, who have made significant upgrades to their bullpen in addition to waiting for their all star 3rd baseman to come back from injury.

Fuck Jerry Reinsdorf, Eat At Arby’s

Baseball

BOX SCORES

Game 1: Twins 3 – White Sox 2 (8 Innings)

Game 2: Twins 3 – White Sox 5 (7 Innings)

Game 3: Twins 5 – White Sox 9

Game 4: Twins 7 – White Sox 2

 

Quite the weird and wonky series here, as the Sox and Twins split in every way possible, from the double header to the full 9 inning games. The Sox pitching staff (other than Lance Lynn) was pretty suspect here, with Dallas Keuchel and Dylan Cease not exactly having their best stuff. On the other end of the battery, you have two catchers who if you combined them might equal one Yasmani Grandal (but probably not), highlighting the need to perhaps add another catcher at the deadline for Rick Hahn, especially since catchers and knee injuries aren’t really compatible.

On the offensive side of things, this was a split as well with long periods of inactivity puncuated with a barrage of hits and runs. Jose Abreu and Yoan Moncada are both scorchingly hot right now, with both of them smashing the ball to all fields. After the 1st game, things cooled considerably for Tim Anderson, with his 16-game hit streak coming to an end Tuesday night.

All told, the Sox gained a half game on the Tribe and kept the stupid Twins right at the bottom of the division where they belong. One would assume this would make Minnesota sellers at the deadline, because they have some quality pieces they can move.

TO THE BULLETS!

 

 

NUMBERS DON’T LIE

Game 1

-What a waste of an outing for Lance Lynn here. Other than one mistake in the 6th to Nelson Cruz (which has happened to a LOT of pitchers over the last 15 years), he was pretty dominant, only allowing 6 baserunners in the 7 innings he pitched. Fresh off his new paper from the Sox, Lynn did nothing to imply that Rick Hahn didn’t make an excellent move with the extension. He deserved a better fate, but if you can only manage 1 run in 7 innings it’s gonna be tough for any starter to get the W.

-Tim Anderson extended his hitting streak in the 3rd inning with another oppo dong off the guy from Mortal Kombat with the metal arms. Timmy is hitting to all fields with power right now, and honestly looks like one of the best hitters in baseball, except when he swings 3-0 with a chance to tie the game and popped out in foul territory. Stuff like this is going to happen when you have a free swinger, but overall I wouldn’t change anything about his approach.

-Garrett Crochet didn’t get any help from his defense or the reliever that came after him, ultimately taking the loss after Jake Burger had trouble making a decision on a Josh Donaldson chopper that loaded the bases. LaRussa went to Ryan Burr who got Cruz on a sac fly but then gave up a single to Polanco that scored what ended up being the winning run.

-Jose Abreu tried to drag the Sox back for the tie in the bottom of the 8th with a double that scored Tim Anderson, but was stranded there with a K and a pop out. Fart Noise.

Game 2

-The Reynaldo Lopez Revenge Game never really materialized, but he pitched decent in his return to the big club. He gave up a single to lead off the game, then promptly advanced the runner to 3rd on a pickoff throw that was never within 10 feet of Jose Abreu. One Donaldson sac fly later and he was down 1-0. He later gave up a dinger to Mitch Garver, but other than those 2 mistakes looked serviceable.

-Poor Matt Foster got smoked by a line drive off the bat of Min Kepler, but at least managed to deflect it towards Danny Mendick for the out. He stayed in the game and had another ball hit at him. Not a great night.

-Codi Heuer came in and pitched a solid 6th inning, and Aaron Bummer continued his Jeckyll and Hyde routine by looking infinitely better than his previous outing.

-Jose Berrios only made 3 mistakes on the evening, and those 3 turned out to be all 5 Sox runs. Other than Moncada, Abreu and finally Gavin Sheets, Berrios kept the Sox hitters off balance all night with his sinker while striking out 8. It didn’t matter in the end, as Gavin Sheets did this with a 4-seamer Berrios tried to jam him with:

Game 3

-It was pretty apparent at the start of this one that Dallas Keuchel didn’t have his A game. He labored through 5 innings, only giving up 2 but he had to battle the whole way. Min Kepler took him WAY deep in the 2nd inning after an 8 pitch at bat where Dallas was up on him 0-2, which was the theme of the night. Keuchel had no issue getting ahead of hitters, but was unable to put any of them away. I have no evidence of this, but it feels like him and Seby Zavala weren’t on the same page for most of the night.

-Brian Goodwin saved Keuchel’s bacon in the 5th with a diving catch on a sinking liner hit by Nelson Cruz that would’ve scored at least one run and quite possibly two. I once again am forced to applaud Rick Hahn for one hell of a pickup in B-Good. He also singled in Jose to give the Sox a 2-0 lead in the 1st inning that wouldn’t last.

-Jose Abreu is a goddam beast. He finished a single short of the cycle, which in and of itself is kind of mind blowing. He also lifted this absolute moonshot in the bottom of the 8th to put the game out of reach permanently for the Twins:

https://twitter.com/whitesox/status/1417688497037643777?s=20

-Michael Kopech pitched a decent 2 innings, really only giving up one mistake to (who else) Josh Donaldson, who smoked a 3-1 fastball about 15 rows deep. While Kopech didn’t have his A+ stuff, it was still good enough to get the job done. He probably could’ve gone one more, but TLR decided he wanted some Ryan Burr. The Twins did too, apparently because Donaldson singled on the first pitch he saw, then Polanco got to him again with a 2-run dong to (temporarily) put the Twins on top. The Sox’ options for reliable relievers in the 7th and 8th innings are practically non-existent, so Rick Hahn has quite the job ahead of him in the next few weeks.

-Andrew Vaughn came up big in his pinch hit situation in the bottom of the 8th, scorching a single to left center field that was hit so hard that Adam Engel nearly got drilled at home after he held up for half a breath before dashing from 2nd to home in a thrilling play to tie the game.

-Yoan Moncada is locked in. Beware.

-Billy Hamilton, ladies and gentlemen. After pinch running for Gavin Sheets in the 7th, he came up in the 8th with the go-ahead run on 2nd and 1 out. He didn’t waste any time, lining a single down the 3rd base line past a diving Donaldson to score Zack Collins from 2nd. You just gotta love how this guy plays the game.

Game 4

-While his stat line doesn’t look too awful, Dylan Cease didn’t exactly set the world on fire in this start. He threw way too many pitches again, and when he missed his spots it was right in the middle of the zone (see: Kepler, Min).

-Codi Heuer has once again highlighted the need for Rick Hahn to acquire bullpen help at the deadline. The inconsistencies of a very young crew has been exposed over the last few weeks. The high level at which the starters have been pitching covers up a lot of those warts, but when Keuchel and Cease have less than stellar efforts, the pen has been overexposed.

-The Sox hitters didn’t help much either, stranding 14 people on base and generally making Michael Pineda look like a world beater (he’s not). Leury Garcia hasn’t been great in the last 7 games, posting a .174/.321/.304 slash line with 9 strikeouts. The catching crew of Seby Zavala and Zack Collins have sucked out loud as well. Here’s hoping Yasmani has Eloy-like healing abilities.

-Billy Hamilton was a lone bright spot in this game, going 2 for 4 and directly being responsible for the Sox first run. He fired a double down the line, then promptly stole 3rd and was brought in with an Adam Engel grounder that Assbag McGee couldn’t handle by 3rd. Love it.

 

Next up is a weekend series up in the remains of Giannis-Town with some of the most marquee pitching matchups you could possibly hope for:

If that doesn’t get you excited for baseball, you’re clinically dead and I can’t help you. Granted, whenever you get exciting pitching matchups like this, instead of duels, you end up with an offensive explosion so I fully expect 56 total runs this weekend. Either way, should be fun. Take 2 of 3 and get the hell outta there.

Lets Go Sox

Baseball

BOX SCORES

Game 1: Astros 7 – White Sox 1

Game 2: Astros 1 – White Sox 10

Game 3: Astros 0 – White Sox 4

 

Much better.

It’s pretty amazing how good the Sox record is when they hit 2+ home runs in a game. After this weekend they’re now 21-2 with multiple long balls in a single setting, and yet the team overall is 23rd in the league in that category with a measly 99 dingers. I don’t quite know as a hitting coach how you can preach hitting the long ball more, but maybe it’s something they should…look into? Or maybe not, since the team is 3rd in the league in overall offensive WAR. Whatever, just keep winning.

By taking 2 of 3 over the weekend, the Sox salvage what could’ve been a complete disaster of a season series against the cast of Stomp. Things looked pretty bleak Friday evening, as it was more of the same against the Astros with Dylan Cease pitching pretty well, but the offense completely shut down by Lance McCullers. Throw in some seriously boneheaded defense by Leury Garcia, and it sure did feel like the Sox were gonna lose all 7 games.

BUT!

The Sox bats came alive the next night, and Lucas Giolito did his best Gandalf impersonation by tossing a complete game 1-run win.

Carlos Rodon picked up the sword and staff on Sunday and did the same, slaying the Balrog of Mordor (Texas) in 7 solid innings of 1 hit ball. Nothing but praise for the performance of the team Saturday and Sunday, and a great start to the back end of the season. Oh, and the Sox extended Our Beefy Boy Lance Lynn by 2 years with a team option on a 3rd. WOOT.

TO THE BULLETS!

 

NUMBERS DON’T LIE

GAME 1

-Dylan Cease deserved a better fate than what he ended up with on Friday night, but sometimes that’s how the glorious game of baseball treats you. I’ll take 5 2/3rds of 10K ball against one of the best offenses in the league 10 out of 10 times, and even the 3 runs he gave up were aided and abetted by Leury Garcia. Keep getting this kind of production from him and the rotation is looking even more dangerous than it did in the 1st half.

-Things actually started out pretty awesome in this game, as the Sox were up 1-0 after the first two pitches from McCullers. Timmy smoked a triple into the corner, and was brought home next pitch with a double from Yoan Moncada. Alas, you could’ve turned off the game at that point and not missed anything else as McCullers owned the Sox for the rest of the evening.

-Leury Garcia did not exactly smother himself in glory in this game, failing to cover 2nd base for a force out that could’ve ended the 3rd inning. Later on he cut in front of TA on a grounder, biffing the play and allowing the inning to continue. He also managed to go 0-3 with a strikeout, hammering home the point that an everyday second baseman should be a priority for Rick Hahn in the next few weeks.

-Tough night for Brain Goodwin as well, wearing the Golden Sombrero for the first time this season. He’s still the best move (other than DFA-ing Adam Eaton) that Rick Hahn has made so far this season, and it’s not like anyone else looked great in this game either.

-Not a great first night back for Aaron Bummer, as he was all over the fucking place. Then Jose Ruiz came in to “clean up” the mess, and instead threw a packed baby diaper into a lidless blender. Unless something changes in the next 3 months, there should not be a postseason roster spot for him.

GAME 2

-Lucas Giolito was fantastic in this one, fluctuating between economical and strikeout heavy depending on the situation. His fastball still didn’t have the movement it did last season, but the overall accuracy was back at a premium level. He even threw his curve a few times, which we haven’t seen in awhile. The Astros hitters were completely off balance, and Lucas never let them get a sniff of getting back into the game.

-Almost everybody showed up to hit tonight, and Jake Odorizzi paid the price for it. He didn’t help himself by losing control of the strike zone in the 3rd inning, but by then the damage had already been done with back to back dingers by Zack Collins and Tim Anderson. It only got worse from there for the ‘Stros pitching as Jose Abreu and Gavin Sheets piled on.

-Really the only person who didn’t join in on the hit parade was Andrew Vaughn, but he made great contact all night, and was just barely missing barreling up a few pitches. He’s SOOOO close to exploding all over this league (phrasing).

-Jake Burger hit his first career home run, and it was a BOMB. What an awesome story, and I couldn’t be happier for the guy.

GAME 3

-Carlos Rodon woke up Sunday morning and chose violence. The Astros hitters could not get a bead on what he was throwing, with poor Yordan Alvarez in particular regretting leaving the hotel room in the morning. All told ‘Los struck out 10, averaging 97 on his 4 seamer, topping out at 100.5 in the 6th inning. He now has 14 starts this season with 8 or more K’s, with nobody else (including Pitching Jesus Jake deGrom) having more than 11.

-Oh look, another dinger by TA. The power is showing up now, with 14 total bases on the weekend (1 1B, 1 2B 1 3B 2 HR). His BABIP is now at a hilarious .397 on the season, but if you still think the regression monster is coming for him you haven’t been paying attention. He’s just a special hitter with amazing plate coverage.

-Yoan Moncada went yard from the right side of the plate in the 4th inning, firing a laser beam into the 4th row in LF. Keep elevating that ball, and the damage will only grow.

-If it wasn’t hard enough for the Houston offense to deal with Rodon, the next 2 up for them were Michael Kopech and Liam Hendriks to close out the afternoon. Hilarious.

-Awesome catch by Billy Hamilton in the 8th to allow a 1-2-3 inning for Kopech. When it’s crunch time in the playoffs and the Sox need someone to save their bacon in the OF, he’s the guy.

 

Next up is another 4 games against the goddam Twins. I hate them and I’m sick of them. Grind their bones into dust and bury them at the bottom of the AL Central. Fuck Josh Donaldson and his stupid face.

 

Let’s Go Sox!

 

 

 

Baseball

While I know most of these have been pretty positive grades so far (other than Adam Eaton obviously), can you really blame me? This Sox team has been a pleasant surprise from the jump, and when you lead the division by 8 games at the break there’s not too much room for complaining.

So believe me when I say this next group isn’t going to get much in the way of complaints either. The starting pitching staff for the Sox has been far and away the most consistent and effective group of the entire bunch, and are largely responsible for the position the team finds itself in right now.

Really the only thing that could be an issue for the Sox going forward is the same one that everybody is facing: the league cracking down on the use of sticky substances by pitchers. Will it affect the rotation? Has it already? We shall see…

 

LANCE LYNN

Games Started: 16 / 9-3 record

1.99 ERA / 1.04 WHIP / 3.20 FIP

105 K / 31 BB / 3.39 K to BB Ratio

2.5 WAR

When Rick Hahn sent Dane Dunning to the Rangers this past off-season for our Big Beefy Boy, it was the type of move one makes when they have expectations of winning at least the division. The early returns on that deal have been quite promising, as the above number indicate.

Despite missing a few weeks with a strained trapezius muscle, Lynn has been the most consistent pitcher in the Sox rotation. He’s made it to the 5th inning or beyond in 13 of his 16 starts, and only given up more than 3 runs once. He’s also added “slapdick motherfucker” into the lexicon of Sox fans everywhere, and for that we all must be eternally grateful. He’s a bulldog on the mound, which occasionally leads to him throwing too many pitches, but otherwise there’s not really much to complain about here. Lance Lynn has come in and done the job exactly as advertised, and should be extended by the club at their earliest convenience (read: probably never).

GRADE: A

LUCAS GIOLITO

Games Started: 18 / 7-6 record

4.15 ERA / 1.17 WHIP / 3.99 FIP

125 K / 33 BB / 3.79 K to BB Ratio

2.0 WAR

Lucas Giolito has had an up and down year control-wise, as is evidenced by his unusually high ERA. While he has not reverted to the complete pumpkin he was in 2018 (he has the exact same amount of strikeouts right now in half as many games), the long ball has resurfaced as an issue for him. A lot of that comes from Lucas preferring to work up in the strike zone, with him being one of the few pitchers who’s willing to throw the changeup higher in the zone. The issue when you work up in the zone is if you miss your spots, the ball tends to go a LONG way. The way you avoid that when you work up in the zone is your pitches have to have good movement on them, and that’s attained by having a good spin rate (you see where I’m going with this).

The chart above shows the average spin rate for all of his pitches over the 2021 season. While this doesn’t guarantee that he was using some type of substance, it does lead one in that direction. Despite the loss in spin rate, his K% rate has remained pretty steady. Really the only thing to glean from this is pitches that would’ve moved more out of the zone and been more difficult to barrel up for hitters are being hit harder at a higher rate. Giolito’s mechanics are still solid, he’s just going to have to adjust the way he approaches batters now, and he’s already mentioned he wants to use the curveball and slider more than he was. He’ll be fine, there’s just going to be an adjustment period.

Also, fuck Josh Donaldson

GRADE: B

CARLOS RODÓN

Games Started: 15 / 7-3 Record (1 No-Hitter)

2.31 ERA / 0.96 WHIP / 2.35 FIP

130 K / 26 BB / 5.00 K to BB Ratio

3.6 WAR

What started as a depth signing on the cheap turned into what I would call the co-ace of the White Sox starting staff, and it’s impressive as all hell to see. Rick Hahn was panned by many (myself included) when it seemed he was punting again on the 5th starter position this past December by bringing back Rodón and having him battle it out with Reynaldo Lopez for the final spot. What ended up happening is that ‘Los seems to have finally put it all together, mashing that up with being healthy for the first time in years and turned it into an All Star nomination and ultimately some Cy Young votes.

What changed? Obviously being healthy played a huge role, as it allows him to throw the slider much harder than he’s been able to in the past 4 years. The added velocity has caused the pitch to become almost unhittable, as batters have gone from a .250 average against it to a mere .106, and only slugging .133 off it. No solid contact = results. He’s also throwing his fastball more, up from 50% to almost 60%, another instance of the added velocity. All told, it’s turned Carlos into a monster and it’s gonna make him a lot of money in the off-season, hopefully with the White Sox (stares in Jerry Reinsdorf).

GRADE: A+

Dallas Keuchel

Games Started: 17 / 7-3 Record

4.25 ERA / 1.38 WHIP / 4.73 FIP

58 K / 31 BB / 1.87 K to BB Ratio

0.7 WAR

Dallas Keuchel has not had a terrible year, but neither has it been a very effective one. In the past, he was known for keeping the ball down in the zone and creating weak contact with his sinker. This usually allowed him to eat quite a few innings and save the bullpen for other, strike-heavier pitchers. That’s not the case this year. His lack of precision has led to him not making it past the 5th inning in over half of his starts. His splits as he progresses multiple times through the order get worse and worse as the season goes along, with him facing people for the 3rd time particularly brutal as hitters have a .328 average against him as opposed to a .218 one the first time through.

I can’t quite put my finger on what the issue is here either. His underlying metrics are pretty similar to what he’s had in the past, though his HR/9 has taken quite the jump from last year’s half season. His BABIP doesn’t imply bad luck, and his FIP implies that he’s actually getting decent D behind him. Whatever the reason, he needs to figure it out because every inning that Michael Kopech mows down the competition Keuchel becomes more and more unnecessary. Best case scenario for him would be a 6-man rotation to allow Kopech to ease back into the role and Rodon to preserve his arm. As a 5th starter, Keuchel is fine. With better options on the horizon, however, his time may be limited.

GRADE: C

Dylan Cease

Games Started: 18 / 7-4 Record

4.11 ERA / 1.27 WHIP / 3.68 FIP

117K / 39 BB / 3.00 K to BB Ratio

2.0 WAR

Ahhh Dylan Cease, the pitcher that drives me crazier than any other on the roster. You can see the tools, and when his stuff is on, he’s nigh unhittable. He has little issue getting ahead in the count, with 0-2 and 1-2 counts the norm. Instead of putting away the hitter, the nibbling begins and before too long it’s either a full count or a walk. He throws way too many pitches, and puts himself in situations where there’s little margin for error.

He’s also one of the pitchers who’s spin rate has dropped fairly precipitously in the past months, though it hasn’t made as much of a difference in the way he approaches batters. His FIP implies he’s had some bad luck behind him defensively, but some of that can be attributed to the fact that he’s also the slowest pitcher on the roster, and that can lull a defense to sleep.

Ultimately I’m splitting hairs, as Cease is fine as a 4th starter. His stuff has potential to improve, and most of his issues are more approach related as opposed to mechanical. Carlos Rodon is proof that sometimes it takes starters longer to bake in the oven, and we should keep that in mind when it comes to Dylan.

GRADE: B

Baseball

BOX SCORES

Game 1: Rained Out

Game 2: Twins 6 – White Sox 7

Game 3: Twins 3 – White Sox 13

Game 4: Twins 5 – White Sox 8

 

Josh Donaldson is a penis, and it warmed the darkest recesses of my heart to see the Sox respond to his borderline insane zoom interview/manifesto by pummeling the Twins pitching to the tune of 28 runs in 3 games. They drummed poor Matt Shoemaker all the way back to the unemployment line when Brain Genius Rocco Baldelli went Full TLR and left him out there to die in the 4th inning. It really was quite the spectacle, and I wish I could liquify it and then inject the solution directly into my brain.

TO THE BULLETS!

 

NUMBERS DON’T LIE

 

Game 1

-Let’s get this out of the way at the start. Lucas Giolito’s spin rate was waaaaay down in this game, with his 4-seamer missing about 170 RPMs off from his previous outing. It was also a very hot and humid night, with the dewpoint well above 70. Did this have an effect on his spin rate? Probably. That being said, it bears watching going forward to see if it was a one time thing or the new norm. The one K for the night also raises my eyebrows a bit. Gonna wait and see how the next few starts go before we draw any concrete conclusions.

-On the other side of the coin, something is very wrong with Kenta Maeda’s mechanics. I don’t know if he was tipping his pitches or what, but he was supremely hittable on Tuesday night. On top of that, he had trouble finding the zone, and when he was actually in it, the Sox beat the shit out of the ball. Sucks for him, good for us.

-Gavin Sheets, hello.

-Andrew Vaughn and his googly eyes are locked in right now. He’s seeing the ball very well (duh), and most importantly making contact against right handed pitchers. We all knew he can punish lefties, but seeing that same swing against RHP now is exciting.

-Ryan Burr just keeps throwing zeros up there. Gonna need him now that Evan Marshall and Aaron Bummer have joined Eloy and the rest up in Sox Heaven.

-Liam Hendriks certainly made things exciting in the 9th, but managed to work around some bad luck and lock down his 21st save of the year.

GAME 2

-LOL TWINS

-The Sox had 7 dingers total in the series and 6 of them came in this game. One of which was the first career bomb from Gavin Sheets, which went an estimated 429 feet. The only one to top that distance on the night was Yasmani Grandal, who’s 447 foot blast showed up on our radar at work:

-Dylan Cease gave up a dinger to Donaldson (of course) in the 1st, but then settled down thereafter and went a solid 6. His 3 walks pretty much guaranteed that he wasn’t going any further than that, but with the bullpen in the state that it’s in you can’t complain about a quality start.

-Garret Crochet looks like he found the heat he was missing on his fastball, striking out 2 in his inning of work and touching 98 mph in the process. Good to see.

-Jose Abreu went yard with a piss missile in the 3rd inning, but still looked out of sorts. Dude needs a week off, and I’m legit hoping he avoids the All Star Game

GAME 3

-Carlos Rodon had more nasty stuff in this game, but ran into trouble in the 5th when the D behind him went into full Benny Hill Mode. Ultimately it cost him the W, but it was all worth it to have him stare Donaldson down when he K’d him with a nasty slider. Baseball is fun.

-Billy Hamilton is back and it’s beautiful. Dude smacked a double into left center field, then stole 3rd underneath a shitty swipe by Donaldson, then scored on a sac fly from Abreu in short right center.

-All was not fun and games, however, as Yoan Moncada hurt his hand on a slide into 3rd. Team is calling it a bruised thumb, and he’s expected to miss at least the series this weekend against Detroit. Realistically they should rest him until after the all star break, but we know that won’t happen. Unless…

-Jake Burger comes up and tears a hole in the universe at 3rd base this weekend. Regardless of how the kid does in his callup, it’s an awesome story for him to come back from not one but TWO torn Achilles’ ligament tears. He’s been mashing in AAA, but the Tigers pitching has looked pretty damn good recently, so I’m excited to see how he does.

-Michael Kopech came back for an inning and looked good enough to vulture the W away from Rodon after the D fell apart in the 5th. Gonna need him.

 

Next up is a weekend series against the Tigers in Detroit, where AJ Hinch has his squad playing much better as of late. They took 2 of 3 from Houston, then swept a double header against the Tribe to take 2 of 3 from them.

Their starting rotation has been pretty lights out, so the depleted Sox lineup will have their work cut out for them. Taking out the stinker in the first game against Cleveland, they’ve only given up 10 runs in 5 games. Tarik Skubal has been dominant since his 11 strikeout performance last series against the Sox, and he slots in Saturday against Dallas Keuchel. Casey Mize takes the bump Friday against Lance Lynn, and the fireworks on Sunday feature Lucas Giolito vs the undefeated TBD.

The Sox lead is now up to 5 games over the Indians, who have a series against the Astros pending this weekend. Good chance to get that up to 7 before the next 4 against the Twins. Get it done.

Let’s Go Sox.

Baseball

BOX SCORES

Game 1: White Sox 3 – Pirates 6

Game 2: White Sox 4 – Pirates 3

 

If there were ever a series that perfectly encapsulated the occasional drudge that is the middle of the season in Major League Baseball this one was it. The White Sox offense has had a “Not Interested” sign in the window for a little over a week now, and it showed. With only Yasmani Grandal willing to work a few counts into his favor, the Pirates pitching staff (Team ERA 4.75, 7th worst in baseball) consistently put Sox hitters behind in the count where they were immediately in defense mode, generating weak contact.

The Sox offense is clearly pressing right now, and with runs at a premium the onus is going to be on the pitching staff more than ever before in the season. With a few exceptions, they answered the bell in this two game stretch, definitely giving the team a chance to win both games. They’re gonna be needed until the hitters get back to where they need to be, or reinforcements arrive via trade.

To the bullets!

 

NUMBERS DON’T LIE

Game 1

-Adam Frazier had himself a nice audition for Rick Hahn in game one, going 1-3 with a dinger off a hung changeup from Lucas Giolito in the 3rd inning. He also made a few slick plays in the field. I understand his career wRC+ is 105 (which is still good) and he’s outperforming that by +21, but the eye-test is very strong here. He may turn into a pumpkin, but odds are better with him keeping this up than, say, Eduardo Escobar. Get it done, Rick.

-Yasmani Grandal was the lone bright spot for the White Sox offense today, pinch hitting for Zack Collins in the top of the 2nd, and jumping all over a meatball of a sinker from Tyler Anderson. The shot gave the Sox a 3-2 lead, which they would hold for approximately 4 minutes because…

-It was Garret Crochet’s turn to implode in a high leverage relief role. His fastball was about 6 mph slower than his average of 98.8, and had less than zero movement on it. 92 mph fastballs up in the zone have a tendency to be hit a lot, and that’s what happened here. The 4 runs he gave up were on a whopping 10 pitches total, as the Pirates jumped all over his shit. I don’t really understand his usage this season, or what the Sox ultimate plan for him is going forward.

-On the plus side, we had a Yermin sighting in this game as he singled in the 7th pinch hitting for Lucas Giolito. Baby steps for the Yerminator.

-The White Sox now lead all of baseball in errors, so they’ve got that going for them.

Game 2

-Dylan Cease was not his sharpest today, but he was able to scatter the 7 hits and 1 walk he gave up over 6 innings so I suppose you could consider this a bounce back performance from the beatdown the Astros gave him over the weekend.

-LaRussa turned once again to Ryan Burr to help get Cease out of a jam in the 6th, which he did by getting Michael Perez to line out to Jake Lamb in left. He’s now thrown 8.2 innings without giving up a run, which is something few in the Sox bullpen can say. The underlying metrics aren’t great, but given the inconsistency around him, TLR may as well ride the hot hand.

-Codi Heuer can’t get anyone out right now, and shouldn’t be trusted with anything more than mop up duty at this point.

-Aaron Bummer and Liam Hendriks both looked deadly today, pitching 2.2 innings total without allowing a baserunner. Bummer came in for Heuer in the 7th when he gave up 3 straight hits and cleaned up the mess. More please.

-Yasmani added 2 more RBIs to his total with a 2-run double laced into left-center field in the top of the 5th. With the Sox offense scuffling right now, it’s the perfect time for him to heat up.

-TA looked a little more himself in this game, going 2-5 with an RBI and a run scored. Happy Birthday indeed.

 

Next up is a 4 game stint back at The Down Arrow vs. the Seattle Mariners. This brings another potential audition for a trade candidate as Hahn will get to watch Mitch Haniger all over the M’s outfield. While the M’s aren’t really in the playoff picture just yet, they’ve gone 8-2 in their last 10 games and are over .500 for the first time since the first week of the season. Their pitching outside of Yusei Kikuchi isn’t anything to write home about, but they can definitely hit the ball up and down the order. I’d be happy with 2 of 3, and that should be considered the bare minimum to pull outta this dive.

 

Let’s Go Sox.

Baseball

BOX SCORES

Game 1: White Sox 2 – Astros 10

Game 2: White Sox 1 – Astros 2

Game 3: White Sox 3 – Astros 7

Game 4: White Sox 2 – Astros 8

 

Not much you can say about a series where everything that could possibly go wrong did. I suppose the only bright side is the Sox made it through 4 straight games without anyone’s soft ligament tissue bursting into flame on the field. Huzzah.

I think the worst part about all of it is now I have to wear an Asstros jersey in September because I lost a bet to the guy in the above picture, who is a physical representation of every single Houston fan on the planet squished into one tiny body. Don’t ask me why he looks like a homeless Ric Flair, there’s no good answer.

 

NUMBERS DON’T LIE

 

Game 1

-Dylan Cease just did not have it in this one. 3.1 Innings with 7 runs given up, and 2 walks somehow still doesn’t convey just how little he was able to command his stuff. Everything was up in the zone, but not up enough and it was getting pounded. Hopefully this is just a hiccup, but the fact that he has yet to defeat a team with a winning record is less than confidence inspiring.

-Yoan Moncada is hurting from whatever is currently ailing him, and it shows. I know the Sox desperately need his bat in the lineup, but if he’s going to be dragging ass perhaps it might be best to just bite the bullet and rest him.

-4 hits ain’t gonna get it done against ANY major league lineup, let alone one of the top teams in the AL.

-That being said, Jose Urquidy looked to be at the top of his game with 69 of his 92 pitches going for strikes. The Sox had a barrel rate of 0.00%, which is pretty unheard of outside of Jake deGrom. Not a great night all around.

-We’re gonna need to put Yermin’s face on some milk cartons, because he’s completely disappeared.

Game 2

-As much as Dylan Cease didn’t have it in game 1, Carlos Rodon made up for it in game 2. The only difficulty he ran into was in the 5th, where he walked in the only run he gave up. Until that point he was cruising through the Astros lineup, averaging a mere 10 pitches thrown per inning. He deserved a better fate.

-While the Sox offense was able to muster a few more hits this game, they managed one less run due to their inability to hit with runners in scoring position. Grandal, Lamb and Vaughn all stranded multiple runners in their at bats, and none of them looked good doing it.

-Cody Heuer finally put together a solid inning of relief, striking out 2 while keeping the game tied in the 8th. More please.

-Not much Garret Crochet could do about Alvarez’ game winner, as he poked a very good slider on the outside corner down the line past Moncada. Sucks, but it happens. Still think that Crochet’s ultimate destiny is a high-leverage reliever a la Josh Hader.

-Scoring 1 run and stranding 8 runners won’t win any awards in the majors, and that’s two stinkers in a row for the offense. Not a trend yet, but it’s getting close.

Game 3

-Lance Lynn finally had a stinker, and it couldn’t have come at a worse time. He didn’t make it to the 5th inning for the first time since his opening start this year in Anaheim, but in that one it was the defense that let him down. In this start he was just caught throwing too many pitches to a too-patient Astros team that got him into situations where they could simply sit on his fastball.

-Two extra base hits ain’t gonna get it done 9 games outta 10. This game was not The One. Only Moncada and Vaughn were able to make it to 2nd base, with everyone else pretty much flailing at what Framber Valdez was offering up.

-On the positive side of things Ryan Burr had another quality outing, going 2 strong innings, only giving up one walk and a hit before giving the ball to Jose Ruiz, who promptly gave up another run.

-Another game, another 0-fer for Yermin who looks completely lost at the plate now.

Game 4

-Some piss-poor defense in this one, which saw two plays (only 1 of which was called an error by the official scorekeeper, who must have been more shitfaced than I was on Saturday night) that extended the inning for the Astros and forced Dallas Keuchel to throw far too many pitches. Yoan’s throwing from 3B has looked off since he came back from his NOT COVID stint on the bench.

-Speaking of Dallas Keuchel, he was clearly pretty amped up to return to the Juice Box in the first two innings, as he’d alternate beautifully placed cutters and sinkers with pitches that were nowhere near the zone. Unfortunately he never completely settled down and was done by the 3rd inning.

-Lance McCullers had the Sox number on Sunday, as outside of the Jake Lamb 2-run shot in the 2nd he was never in any danger at all.

-Not much else to say other than the fact that the team sucking early in this game allowed me to switch over to the US Open earlier than I thought I would. Unfortunately there wasn’t a whole lot of excitement in that either, so a pretty boring Sunday afternoon sports-wise.

 

Ultimately, this series is fairly meaningless in the long run. The Sox had just taken 2 outta 3 from two of the top teams in the East, and they caught the Astros right as they were heating up. Scoring 8 runs in a 4 game series is never going to end well, and all we can really do is hope this is merely a bump in the road.

Next up we get 2 Nights In Pittsburgh as Lucas Giolito and Dylan Cease draw the starts for the midweek series. As far as pallet cleansers go, the Pirates are the perfect option being 20 games below the .500 mark. It’ll be a good test for the offense to see if the Astros series was merely a fluke, or a portent of something far more sinister.

Moving on.

Baseball

BOX SCORES

Game 1: White Sox 5 – Tigers 4

Game 2: White Sox 15 – Tigers 2

Game 3: White Sox 4 – Tigers 1

 

At this point, there’s not much that can be said about this Sox team when they’re taking on a sub-.500 squad other than that they’re completely merciless. Despite losing yet ANOTHER key piece of the rebuild to an exploded hamstring with Nicky 2-Strikes going down in the previous series, the Sox didn’t miss a beat this weekend in Detroit. Even Friday night where it looked like the bullpen was going to implode after an excellent start by Lucas Giolito, the offense was there to pick up the slack in extra innings.

In the second game, the Sox scored some runs, and then some more, and even more after that, raining blows down upon a Tigers team that had clearly hung the “Not Interested” sign in the bullpen window. They became so disinterested, they trotted out two different position players to pitch, which I’m sure breaks some unwritten rule somewhere, but whatever. The most impressive bit about this Sox win was the fact that out of the 15 runs, only 1 came on a dinger.

On Sunday Hard Carl had a shot at his 2nd no hitter of the season, taking it into the 7th inning before finally giving up a double to Eric Haase with 1 out. Even this was not without shenanigans, as Rodon threw a NASTY slider in a 2-2 count to Haase that clearly caught a chunk of the zone but he didn’t get the call from home plate umpire Pat Hoberg (who otherwise had an excellent day behind the plate).

All told, the Sox now sit at a tasty 41-24 record with a hilariously high +106 run differential (!). While everything is not perfect and the schedule takes a decidedly angry turn in the next week it’s hard to be anything but excited about where this team is right now.

TO THE BULLETS!

 

NUMBERS DON’T LIE

GAME 1

-Let’s get this out of the way at the start: There is absolutely no fucking reason the idiotic umpiring crew should have started the bottom of the 9th inning on Friday night. It was absolutely pouring, and while Liam Hendriks probably didn’t need to flip out the way he did, I don’t blame him in the slightest. I don’t completely blame him for the blown save either, as getting re-pumped up is almost impossible after taking the mound and then having to wind down. Robot Umps ASAP.

-The top 1/3rd of the batting order had a rough night, going a combined 0-11 with 2 walks and one sac fly by Moncada. They were able to get on base a few times via the walk, but none of them came around to score. I don’t hate trying Yermin in the 2 hole, despite the net negative result, trying anything to spark him back up is all right in my book.

-Lucas Giolito had some issues with the long ball again, giving up two solo shots to bring his total over his last 3 starts to 6. When you live in the upper portion of the zone like Lucas does, any mistakes are magnified and usually end up in the cheap seats. Despite that, he’s also undefeated since May 14th, so it’s obviously not the end of the world.

-Adam Engel had another home run? I do declare!

-Garret Crochet had the leash taken off in this one, going 2 whole innings giving up a measly one walk paired with 3 Ks. It’s hard to tell what his future holds, whether it’s in the pen or as a starter, but either way he’s been dominant lately and one of the few trusty weapons out of the pen.

GAME 2

-Dylan Cease is now 8-0 against Detroit in his career, and the 8th win wasn’t ever remotely close. He was staked to a 3 run lead before he even took the mound, and despite making a 2 strike mistake to Harold Castro in the bottom of the inning he never really looked out of sorts en route to 5 strong innings.

-Brian Goodwin, welcome to the White Sox! The free agent acquisition signed by Rick Hahn shortly after all of Luis Robert’s hip muscles went TWANG made his debut in a big way, knocking in 5 of the Sox 15 runs in the first 2 innings with a 2 run double in the first, and a 3 run laser over the RF fence in the 2nd. While this is a nice start, I’m gonna need to see a bit more before I declare the OF issues solved.

-Yermin managed 2 hits and 3 RBI in the game, and while neither of them were nuked off the bat, beggars can’t be choosers at this point. Yermin went from hitting in the 2 hole in game one down to his customary 5 spot. Maybe move him down to 7 next? Whatever it takes.

-Matt Foster contributed 2 innings, and while he walked 2 in this go around he also struck out 3. Baby Steps.

-Beau Burrows puked all over the mound in the 5th inning and no, this is not a metaphor for the Tigers bullpen (though it would absolutely work that way). Feel better, kid.

Game 3

-Hard Carl made his reappearance today, with an absolutely devastating slider and a fastball that was touching 100 mph in the 4th inning. As mentioned above, he carried a No-No into the 7th inning until it was farted away by one bad call behind the plate. All told, he went 7 immensely strong innings, striking out 9 and walking 2. He’ll have his work cut out for him in his next start against the Astros next Friday, but if his slider is working this well it may not make a difference.

-Jose Abreu, after sitting out the offensive explosion on Saturday, came out swinging on Sunday. He went 3 for 5 with 2 doubles, and RBI and a run scored. More importantly he looked as locked in as I’ve seen him in some time, as he was all over the off-speed stuff the Tigers tossed his way. The Sox are going to need to lean on their captain even more from here on out, and I’d be more than willing to bet he’ll be up to the challenge.

-Evan Marshall had a return to form in the 8th inning, looking very strong with his change dancing all around the zone. He’s another one the Sox will need here on out, especially with no set return in sight for Michael Kopech.

-Liam Hendriks mowed down the Tigers in the 9th without any difficulty for his 17th save of the season. Not much to say other than “FUUUUUUUUCK” really loudly.

 

Next up is a 3 game set with the AL East-leading Tampa Bay Rays coming to town. If the rotations hold up, the Sox will be facing the heart of the Ray’s staff starting with the marquee matchup of Tyler Glasnow against Lance Lynn on Monday night. We’ve seen the Sox have no issue beating the dregs of the AL, now they get a chance to show everyone if they truly belong in the elite tier. Two out of three would go a long way towards that, so get it done.

Let’s Go Sox!

Baseball

BOX SCORES

Game 1: Tigers 1 – White Sox 4

Game 2: Tigers 8 – White Sox 9

Game 3: Tigers 4 – White Sox 3

Game 4: Tigers 0  – White Sox 3 

 

Three out of four has to be considered a complete success for the Sox, especially when you include the fact that Baltimore just took 2 of 3 from Cleveland. The Orioles pummeled the Indians pitching, dropping 25 runs on them in 3 games as the Tribe has now lost 5 of their last 10, stretching the Sox lead over them to a season high 4 games.

The door is open for the Sox to run away with the division, and this series was a solid intro to that. The starters had an excellent weekend, where even the lone loser in Giolito still went 7 innings and struck out 9. The Sox hitters took advantage of every mistake the Tigers D made, and the new unis even gave TLR some sick drip. Solid work all around.

In an added bonus, the Twins tailspin continues to be one of the best storylines of the season, as even Ozzie Guillen started in on them during the pregame show on Sunday. It’s glorious, and you can hook every Minnesota loss directly into my veins. Anyway, back to talking about a good team that’s well above .500

 

TO THE BULLETS!

 

Numbers Don’t Lie

Game 1

-Lance Lynn has been as advertised so far this season. How good has he been? Well the one run he allowed in this game actually raised his ERA. He went a strong 6 innings in a mere 89 pitches while striking out 6 Tigers en route to his team-leading 7th win of the season. There isn’t much more you can say about his performance so far, other than it’s been exactly what we all hoped for.

-The Sox hitters smoked 4 solo home runs in this game (Moncada, Grandal, Anderson and Jake the Snake Lamb), providing all the offense that Lynn would need. Seeing Grandal and Moncada go yard in particular warms my cold, dark heart. Grandal seems to finally be rounding into form after dealing with a bum knee all throughout spring training. His dinger went almost 460 feet with an exit velo of 110 mph. Very nice.

-Home plate umpire Will Little had himself a shitty game Thursday night, which ultimately led to Lucas Giolito being tossed after jawing at his terrible strike zone from the dugout. Apparently Little told Gio to go look at the zone himself, which he did, and returned to tell Little that upon further review it still fucking sucked.

-After Gio got tossed, LaRussa managed to piss everyone off AGAIN with his terrible postgame comments. I sorta get where he was going with this, but I would’ve much rather him said something along the lines of “I appreciate his passion in sticking up for his teammates” instead of what he actually said:

-Evan Marshall, Aaron Bummer and Liam Hendriks combined for 3 innings of 1 hit ball in a preview of what we all thought the bullpen was going to be like at the beginning of the year. Sadly, it didn’t last too long.

Game 2

-This game started out pretty ooky for the Sox, as Spencer Turnbull came out firing bullets for the first 5 innings, only making one mistake to Yasmani Grandal that he smoked into the seats for a dinger. Otherwise he was fairly unhittable until the 5th, where something in his elbow went TWANG and he was forced out of the game. It was then that the wheels fell off for the Tigers D, allowing 5 runs in the 5th, only 2 of which were earned. The Sox took advantage, however, and jumped out to a 7-2 lead.

-That lead didn’t last, as mentioned above Codi Heuer and Evan Marshall absolutely did not have their A, B, C or D stuff that night. Heuer walked 2 and gave up a hit, all of which came around to score when Marshall relieved him and promptly gave up 2 home runs that gave the Tigers the lead. Both guys had been pitching fairly stellar of late, so I’m inclined to call this more of a hiccup than a trend.

-Grandal was able to tie the game in the 8th with his 2nd home run of the night and 3rd of the series with an opposite field pop off of Rony Garcia. The eyeballs on this guy were never in doubt, but the power behind the swing now is something else.

-A struggling Yermin Mercedes was able to walk the game off in the 9th after Jose Cisneros walked Yoan Moncada and Jose Abreu smoked a single, sending Yoan to 3rd. Yermin immediately went into 2 strike mode and fought off an inside slider into short left field for the winner. Fingers crossed this is just what he needs to get going here on out.

Game 3 

-On a hot, windy day at the Down Arrow, Lucas Giolito only made 3 bad pitches. Unfortunately for him, all 3 of them ended up in the OF seats, giving the Tigers all the offense that they’d need to win the game. He still went 7 innings, striking out 9 and probably deserved a better fate than the L, but such is baseball.

-Tarik Skubal looked the best he had the entire season, as you could see why the Tigers took him in the 2018 draft. He kept the Sox hitters completely off balance, striking out 11 in 5 innings. His slider had nasty cut to it, and the movement on his 4 seam fastball was pretty damn impressive. Thankfully, with him striking out so many Sox he was pulled after 5 innings and 103 pitches.

-The Sox jumped all over his replacement Derek Holland, with 3 hits (including a 2-run double by Jake the Snake) and a walk. Sadly, this is where things got stupid. LaRussa decided he wanted to fire up the Old Timey Managin’ Machine, and had Danny Mendick try and bunt the tying and winning runs over to 2nd and 3rd. In a galaxy brain move, Mendick decided he would bunt the ball down the 1st base line, where Jonathan Schoop was able to field it and fire the ball over to 3rd for the force out. Giving away outs to a guy who has never been able to get them against the Sox on his own is just fucking dumb, and I doubt this is the last time we will talk about it. Sadly.

-After the fucked up 6th inning, the Sox were only able to muster 1 more hit the rest of the game so they didn’t exactly cover themselves in glory. Jose Abreu had multiple chances to smoke fastballs sitting middle middle and was late on them. His day off Sunday was not really a shock.

Game 4

-Facing the team he’s dominated more than any other, Dylan Cease returned to form by pitching a VERY strong 7 innings and striking out 10 and only walking 1. His curveball looked simply unhittable, dropping right off the table and making Tigers hitters flail around at the ball. I get that it’s just the Tigers, but there was a lot to like about this start. His next one should bring a much stiffer test in the Tampa Bay Rays, and I’m very excited to see how he handles their very patient hitters.

-All the Sox offense happened in the top of the 2nd, with Adam Eaton tripling into the corner to start things off. Andrew Vaughn smoked a single into left to drive him in, then moving to 3rd on a Nick Madrigal double in the gap. Timmy brought both them in with a bloop single to center, and with that the offense was done for the day. Good enough, indeed.

-Aaron Bummer looked sharp taking over for Dylan Cease in the 8th, striking out 2 and generating a weak ground for the other out. More please.

-Liam Hendriks faced little opposition in the 9th, going 1-2-3 with 2 strikeouts. He’s locked in right now, with the only downside being with more people in the stands I can’t hear him scream FUCK anymore.

-The win today moved Tony LaRussa into 2nd place all time for wins in the league. I give TLR a lot of shit because he’s an out of touch crank who doesn’t support his players in the media, but this is a cool milestone for him and the league and in this moment, I have to give him his due. Congrats to him.

 

Next up is a series against the offensive Death Star known as the Toronto Blue Jays. They lead the league in OPS, and their bullpen is what we thought the Sox one would be, and that’s with them losing their closer (Kirby Yates) to TJ surgery before spring training ended. With the Sox merely .500 against winning teams, this coming week will be a solid yardage marker to see where they truly stand among the AL Elite. Get it done.